Sunday, February 4, 2007

Sex & Violence in e-Learning: Creating Engaging Scenario-Based e-Learning

Enrage or Engage!

A Harvard professor once told me that one of the jobs of trainers and consultants "is to enrage, engage or throw warm and hot feelings to our audiences. The trouble is that a spit on the face is also a warm feeling." And then he grinned.

I reflected on this, and added my own version. Sometimes we need to throw "stinking canal water" on the faces of our learners. Now I know this sounds pretty mean. But, let's look at the opposite, say, bright side: We need to create "orgasmic" feelings in our learners.

The point is this: learners don't learn by having just lukewarm feelings about a subject. They don't learn without emotional experience. They don't learn unless they are moved, by either a painful experience or a pleasurable experience. In developing Scenario-Based e-Learning (SBLs) programs for my clients, I always adhere to this principle. And it always works. At first, they find the idea revolting. But eventually they realize and eventually value the impact on learning.

After developing dozens of SBLs, I am now in the process of writing the book " Sex & Violence in e-Learning: Creating Engaging Scenario-Based e-Learning."

Where did I get the inspiration or the lunacy from? Well, from the same professor. He said there is no good story unless there is some amount of sex and violence involved; whether it be Pride and Prejudice or Mary Poppins, the movies.

In creating SBLs, violent (denoting risks, pain, misery, conflict, uncertainty, death, fear) and sexual (denoting pleasure, gain, reward, hope, aspirations, seduction, ecstatic feelings) events and scenarios engage or enrage the learner. And it works!

The trouble with poorly designed SBLs always arises when designers and trainers create SBLs that are shallow representations of life events. Often they use "sanitized" or "Kleenex" version of events and situations. The SBLs are anemic and pale. They lack life and blood-pumping experiences. They lack realism.

A successful SBL is always true to real-life situations and organic.

I hope to finish this book by June of 2007. I am setting up a challenge for myself.

If I fail, send me a "rotten dead skunk". If I succeed, don't bother sending me anything! I will treat myself to an "enormous-orgasmic size" of joy!

Ray Jimenez, PhD

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